Gabby Agbonlahor has been left with egg on his face after Sunday’s dismal defeat against Arsenal further discredited his previous comments about Chelsea. The Gunners ran out 1-0 winners in west London, extending Chelsea’s winless Premier League run to four games.
Arsenal were by far the better side, with Gabriel Magalhaes netting the decisive goal to notch a third successive league win at Stamford Bridge. The visitors have returned to the top of the table, while Graham Potter’s side have slipped five points adrift of the top four.
Many thought the roles would be reversed at the start of the season. Chelsea, touted to finish in the top four comfortably, and Arsenal, primed to be in another scrap to finally return to the Champions League. But only last month, after the Blues’ 2-1 win at RB Salzburg, Agbonlahor suggested they were potentially one striker away from challenging for the title.
He told talkSPORT: “The only missing part for Chelsea, I thought, was Aubameyang’s finishing. I felt the one where they had about 15 passes, and it got placed across to him from [Kai] Havertz. I feel like a sharp striker takes the right touch and dinks the keeper there, [and] finishes it. Maybe that’s what Chelsea are missing to go for the title.”
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However, Chelsea’s performance against Arsenal begged to differ. Potter’s men find themselves 13 points behind their London rivals and are down in seventh with a plus-one goal difference. Despite many of his current squad lifting the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel in 2021, Potter will likely feel he needs more than one of his own signings to get Chelsea where they need to be.
Since his arrival, the former Brighton boss has implemented change, regularly lining up with a back four rather than the three-at-the-back system popular with Tuchel. If he plans to stick with that, he will be eager to mould his squad accordingly.
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Chelsea owner Todd Boehly will plan to financially back Potter in his first two transfer windows, the first coming up in January. And plenty of supporters would likely be happy to replace Aubameyang with a long-term option upfront.
RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku has been heavily linked with a transfer, with Chelsea reportedly ready to pay more than his release clause to lure him away from Germany. But whether that move is in doubt after the club’s change of head coach remains to be seen. As far as the proof goes, though, Chelsea are more than one signing away from battling at the league summit.
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